New Delhi, May 4: Less than 48 hours before Amethi and crucial 51 seats across north and central Indian states go to the polls, a massive defence scam hit Congress president on Saturday with BJP even suggesting whether Rahul Gandhi as a defence dealer would have served India better.
"I don't know whether it would have been better for this country if he (Rahul Gandhi) had remained into defence dealing rather than got into public life," Union Finance Minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley told reporters taking the vitriolic electoral battle to a new paradigm.
Taking cognizance of media reports that suggest that a company Rahul Gandhi was associated with in the past had got the offsets benefits of a defence deal under the UPA government in 2011, Mr Jaitley went onto ask: "What was his own role, did he want to start off as a defence dealer".
In an election rally at Pratapgarh in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said - Media reports are raising questions about how they looted the country.
"I learnt today that Naamdar's business partner was involved in several defence deals. Naamdar's friend was obliged during the UPA era. The government was theirs and coupled with the huge defence deal made the perfect arrangement for them to profit from the deal," he said.
Mr Jaitley further wanted to know whether Rahul Gandhi wanted to operate as a 'disguised defence dealer or a facilitator'.
"What did the name of the company Backops suggest - did it mean 'back office company' and this will help in deals. This is a serious issue and that is why we insist, silence will not help. The Congress leadership should speak on these and clarify matters at the earliest," he said.
"It is a story of a man who aspired to be a defence deal-pusher and today aspires to be the Prime Minister of India," he said.
Questioning Congress silence on the issue, he said: "The right to silence is not available to political leaders, particularly not to those who aspire to be Prime Minister of India".
'You are judging others and making allegations when there is no evidence," Mr Jaitley said adding - "Now, you are going to be judged".
Referring to Rahul Gandhi's repeated charge of 'offset benefits' vis-a-vis Anil Ambani on Rafale, Mr Jaitley said: "We heard when you point one finger, four other fingers point towards you....we did not know this will be proved so soon".
"Now he (Rahul) is going to be judged by the standards and the level of proof that he has laid down," the Finance Minister said adding "Rahul Gandhi became a part of a corporate group which had no business except pushing transactions".
On this backdrop, he says, "The contract goes to a French company and the offset contract goes to a little known company and not somebody unattached to him but someone who was part of his own business transactions".
"How this company got the offset benefits," he said.
Mr Jaitley further said: "Offsets went to a little-known company and not someone remote, but someone who was part of his (Rahul Gandhi's) own business transactions and social circle. They become beneficiaries of offset".
He said Ulrick Mcknight is an American citizen but is related to senior Congress leader Edwardo Faleiro from Goa.
"All these prove a point that a company which is merely on defence liasioning and has no manufacturing or servicing unit get the benefits," he said.
Answering questions, Mr Jaitley among other things wanted to know from Rahul Gandhi why was this company formed what was his relationship with the company.
Earlier in the day, in a tweet BJP chief Amit Shah said - "With Rahul Gandhi’s Midas Touch, no deal is too much. When he has a say, his business partners make hay. Doesn’t matter if India suffers on the way," Mr Shah said in a tweet.
In his missive, the BJP national president tagged the link of the media report that said that Rahul Gandhi's former business partner got defence offset contracts during the UPA regime.
The media reports claimed that the documents show that Mr Gandhi did open a company named Backops Limited in the UK in partnership with an individual named Ulrik Mcknight.
The reports also claimed that Gandhi's 'former business partner' and his future companies went to benefit from offset contracts given by French defence company Naval Group against Scorpene submarines in 2011. (UNI)